"I can think of no better forum for a composer with a passion for learning the traditions
of so-called progressive American opera theater than AOP’s program."
-- Daron Hagen, composer/guest C&V instructor
The primary focus of Composers & the Voice is to give composers and librettists extensive experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and contemporary opera stage.
The Composers & the Voice Workshop Series is a competitive biannual fellowship offered to composers and composer/librettist teams. It includes 15 workshop sessions between September and May. Workshops include in-depth exploration and involvement in the libretto-writing process and visits by established composers and librettists in the later workshop sessions. The composers are encouraged to take risks and push the boundaries, with the safety net of closed readings always in mind. These pieces are written on very tight deadlines, usually in three weeks, with revisions coming through conversations with the performers and fellow composers.
At the end of the seven-month program, AOP will present the results of the participants’ work in two public performances – First Glimpse, a concert of songs in May, and Six Scenes, an evening of short opera scenes presented in September at the start of the following season. One of these scenes will be selected to receive a staged reading at The Manhattan School of Music the following spring, as part of its annual New Works Sampler.
With each new group of fellows, sponsorships are named in honor of mentors and their support of Composers & the Voice. During the workshop session these “Composer Chairs" make themselves available to our fellows for one-on-one discussions and feedback. Past “Composer Chairs” have included composers Mark Adamo, John Corigliano, Tan Dun, Daron Hagen, Lee Hoiby, John Musto, Richard Peaslee, Tobias Picker, Kaija Saariaho, and Stephen Schwartz.
Composers & the Voice is made possible in part by a generous multi-year award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Fellows in the C&V program are supported by funding from The New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund and Musical Arts Fund. In the 2013-2014 season, The Victor Herbert Foundation has announced the sponsorship of one fellowship as The Victor Herbert Foundation Composers & The Voice Chair. The Chair is created in memory of longtime opera supporter Lois C. Schwartz.
Past AOP Composers & the Voice fellows have received grants and honors from the following organizations: Aaron Copland Fund for Music, ASCAP, BMI, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Music Center, the American Composers Forum, OPERA America, the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, the Fulbright Foundation, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Douglas Moore Fellowship, Tapestry New Opera Works, the Frederick Loewe Foundation, New Dramatists, and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation.